New Eastern Europe

    • Commentary

    Croatia: Moscow’s New Ally, or a Brief Fling?

    Despite a large-scale visit by the Croatian leadership to Russia, we shouldn’t expect breakthroughs in bilateral collaboration, or to see Croatia turn into a close Russian ally. Sanctions, falling oil prices, and long-term stagnation in both countries can’t be overcome by presidential meetings, and real economic ties between the two countries are still modest.

    • Commentary

    The Instability Game: Easing Tensions Between Russia and the West in Moldova

    To prevent further escalation, international actors should not play into Moldova’s divides. They must stop seeing Moldovan politicians as either friends or foes, and instead promote greater competition in the country’s politics. Otherwise, while pursuing their own geopolitical interests, Russia and the EU could both fall victim to manipulation by local politicians.

    • Commentary

    Who Benefits from the Russian-Belarusian War Games?

    Despite all the reputational risks posed by its war games with Russia, Minsk is trying to reap diplomatic benefits from them. The Belarusian military can show Western observers that Minsk’s guarantees can be trusted. On the other hand, it can convince Moscow that the country isn’t “going down the Ukrainian route,” because it isn’t afraid, despite the West’s concerns, to carry out major exercises with Russian forces.

    • Commentary

    Never Sans Sheriff: Consolidating Power in Transdniestria

    Former president Yevgeny Shevchuk’s flight from Tiraspol may signal the culmination of Sheriff’s consolidation of power in Transdniestria, giving the country’s leaders a chance to devise a strategic development program for the first time in twenty years.

    • Commentary

    The Boundaries of Friendship: Russia’s Border Dispute with Belarus

    The dispute over newly established security zones on the Russia-Belarus border reveals that Moscow no longer sees Minsk as a reliable defense partner.

    • Commentary

    Moscow’s Man in Moldova

    Moscow’s support for Moldovan President Igor Dodon doesn’t mean that it is trying to pull Chisinau away from the EU. The Kremlin realizes that its options in Moldova have become more limited in recent years, and it has tempered its expectations accordingly. Now, the Kremlin is trying to find a way to let Moldova enjoy free trade agreements with both the EU and the CIS.

    • Commentary

    Fanning the Flames in Macedonia

    The main cause of the latest crisis in Macedonia is neither Russia’s machinations nor enmity between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Macedonians: it is the EU’s unfulfilled promise that Macedonia has a European future.

    • Commentary

    A Refreeze in Minsk: Combining Crackdown With International Convergence

    The West’s reaction to the crackdown on protests in Belarus has so far been muted. Brussels noticed that Belarusian siloviki showed at least some restraint in their response, which indicates that all is not lost. Western diplomats don’t want to throw away years of progress toward convergence with Minsk because of something that could be written off as a brief spark of rage.

    • Commentary

    The Far-Reaching Consequences of Belarus’s Conflict with Russia

    Even if Minsk and Moscow are able to resolve their current dispute, the standoff will go down in history, at least in Belarus. After Belarus’s declaration of independence and the creation of its state infrastructure—its bureaucracy, currency, and armed forces—this conflict will be one of the most important stages in the country’s movement away from Russia.

    • Commentary

    Three Dimensions: What Does Trump Victory Mean for Ukraine?

    Following Donald Trump’s victory, asked three experts, one in Russia, one in Ukraine, and one in the United States, to comment on the question: “What impact will Trump’s victory have on Ukraine?”

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